Be a Part ofthe Solution, Not Part ofthe Pollution

(Sadia Khalid, Karachi)

Do you know how much our everyday use of plastic is harming our environment and us?

Plastic has become an everyday part of our lives, but when plastic reaches our waters, whether it’s in form of plastic bags, drifting fish nets or intentional dumping of other plastic material into the water, it’s a deadly threat to the animals that depend on the oceans for food.

Like, to a sea turtle, a floating plastic bag looks like a jellyfish. And drifting nets entangle birds, fish and mammals, making it difficult, if not impossible to move or eat.

This marine plastic, which the researchers deal with amounts to 268,940 tons, is largely made up of clothing, food and drink packaging, plastic bags and abandoned fishing gear. Large pieces of plastic can strangle animals such as seals, while smaller pieces are ingested by fish and then fed all the way up the food chain.

Not only that, all these different plastics that spread throughout the ocean breaks. Just as Styrofoam breaks into smaller parts, polystyrene components in it sink lower in the ocean, so that the pollutant spreads throughout the sea column.

In fact, not only do the toxins in plastic effect the ocean, but acting like sponges, they soak up the toxins. As these chemicals are ingested by animals in the ocean, this is not good for humans. We as humans ingest contaminated seafood.

The worst part is, these plastics don't biodegrade, so they break up into tiny pieces that are later consumed by fish and sea mammals

Micro plastics is currently the biggest concern because it could come from the exfoliation beads in our face scrubs to fibers from our laundry, these tiny plastic particles are now known to be ingested by animals throughout the marine food chain, carrying with them a number of pollutants.

But there are some things even you can do to reduce this massive plastic outburst.

First of all, try to use reusable bags instead of polyethene bags. About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute, and a single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to degrade. If you're already bringing reusable bags to the grocery store, you're on the right track, but if you're still using plastic bags, then it's time to make a change. And avoid those bags made from nylon or polyester because they are also made from plastic. Opt for cotton ones instead.

And then you can try to keep yourself away from all the everyday plastic products. Ninety percent of the plastic items in our daily lives are used once and then left like grocery bags, plastic wrap, disposable cutlery, straws, and coffee-cup lids. Take note of how often you rely on these products and replace them with reusable versions.

And last but not the least, boycott those micro beads. These little plastic scrubbers found in so many beauty products—facial scrubs, toothpaste, body washes—might look harmless, but their tiny size allows them to slip through water-treatment plants. Unfortunately, they also look just like food to some marine animals. Opt for products with natural exfoliants, like oatmeal or salt, instead.
And I hope now you can, too, try to make a little change for the better.
SADIA KHALID, Karachi.

 

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